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The Truth About Oakland and Pit Bulls

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As I’ve mentioned a number of times, my husband Alex and I have two dogs. They both came from the Oakland, California shelter. Honey was called a “German Shepherd Mix” at the Shelter, and Harry was called a “Lab – Shar Pei Mix” at the Shelter. Uh huh. What do you think they are mixed with? 

I’ve come to the conclusion that all dogs that come from Oakland are part Pit Bull. Mine certainly are. They can say “French Bulldog Mix” all they like, but even if it’s called a “French Bulldog Purebred,” it’s going to be part Pit Bull if it comes from Oakland. My next door neighbor got her Pug from a breeder in Oakland. Oh, he looks like a Pug pretty much, but he’s got some Pit Bull in him too, I think.

For that matter, it would not surprise me if my cat Smokey (who also came from the Oakland Shelter) isn’t part Pit Bull. In fact, even the rodents and reptiles in Oakland are part Pit Bull. Come to think of it, a lot of the kids over there have might big jaws and muscles galore.

I love Oakland. It’s got a bad rep, like Pit Bulls do but it’s a scrappy little City. Fine dining, some gorgeous homes, some slums, wonderful views, an African American power structure—it’s a cool town. It has life and soul! It’ s not glamorous like its pretty big sister, San Francisco, but I get tired of people talking about it and thinking it’s all about murder and gangs. Sure, there’s some of that. There’s poverty in Oakland, like many cities. When you have poverty, you’re going to have crime. Enough said.

When my cousin Kelly was here from Oklahoma, she came to Oakland to have lunch with me. When it came time for me to go back to work, I left her on the street waiting for a bus. Kelly looked around nervously and said, “Will I be safe standing here?”. There was a tall, good looking, African-American guy standing fairly near us, also waiting for the bus. I said to him “Excuse me, sir. Would you keep an eye on my cousin here? Don’t let anybody snatch her or anything. She’s from Oklahoma.” Of course, he smiled and said sure. (Yeah, she talked to me again, but it took a while.)

I worked in Oakland for many years and walked the streets. I was never afraid even at night. I knew the people in the area and they knew me. I do not believe I was ever in any danger. Oakland hills have some of the most beautiful houses I’ve ever seen and magnificent views. Jack London Square is right on the bay and it looks like you could swim to the high-rises of downtown San Francisco from there. The Square has a fabulous farmer’s market every Sunday. The freshest produce and seafood right off the boat! The people are gorgeous! You will see every ethnic minority gloriously represented. Music is always present. Everybody is happy in that wonderful environment.

I would not trade my Pit Bull Mixes for any purebred dog. Neither would I exchange my next door neighbor, the City of Oakland, for any more sophisticated city in the country!


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